Version Française English version
 His origins  |  Travel to go  |  Diary  |  Volunteers 1870  |  Prospection  |  Factories & Industry  |  Travel to Canada  
Volunteers 1870 (page 7)


Then we will speak about the sally made by JJGarnier around Sombernon's village to give instructions to the sentinels and to prepare at the same time defense positions and plan of sortie for recognition mission. Suddenly about thirty uhlands go out off the woods within 100 métres immediately welcomed with a constant stream shooting. Almost all of them wounded fled galloping away and leaving bloody tracks in the snow whereas the convoy of coaches which followed them turned back. A small group leaves the next day to place at night torpedoes in the entrance and in the exit of Blaisy-le-Bas's tunnel. Numerous bivouac fires at two or three kilometers on the height announced the presence of the column of the 3000 Prussians mentioned in the morning next St Seine. Torpedoes are perfectly hidden but a secret plan is handed to the mayor so that then he can remove them if need be. The mission of mining was accomplished but there was no question of joining Autun and leaving the inhabitants of Sombernon, so devoted, at mercy of a return of the coming enemy to take revenge. Three companies of the volunteers of Vaucluse and some others came and joined defenders. Protections and trenches are established in the woods ; a plan of resistance is organized between the officers which consisted of a series of ambushes which were connected or defended one another.

It was the night of Christmas very clear, midnight, temperature had come down to minus 18°, the last snow had covered the roads of a carpet where every step left an imprint. Towards the access of ambushes, they leave the road and take paths through the woods while making here and there wrong tracks in dead end trampled well and left backwards. Motionless waiting in the freezing northerly wind of the soldiers thrilled by the wish to see the enemy moving around.

Two false alarms and at two o'clock in the morning a farmer tells them that the Prussian's column suddenly broke camp, took posthaste the road of Dijon and, furthermore, that German had evacuated Dijon. Scouts confirm that it is not a trap :

"So, on December 28, we made our entry in Dijon where we were received by the cheers of an enthusiastic and deliriously crowd happy to see again French soldiers …" In this respect, JJGarnier mentions the trickery of several generals in their publications : Bordonne, Cremer, Garibaldi, about, for example, falsified date of their entrance in this city among others provable lies and declares : " One can fearlessly conclude right now that the history of this war should again be published … "

Without waiting, he reaches an agreement with the Préfet about the means to repair damages maximum created in Dijon by the enemy and how, but also where, to realize the works of defense of the city according plans which he gives word for word a copy of (these works received initial steps but certain points were put aside due to the lack of time or of penalty on behalf of the leaders). He gets much help from Captain Arnaud whom he praises widely as well as, farther, captain of the company of Tarn-et-Garonne or still the family of the village of The Heat ". A new mission is confided to him: that to go at once in the direction of Sombernon and to create on each of the roads arriving from Montbard all the obstacles which he would consider necessary, an enemy army corps being mentioned on working order from there towards Dijon. With country folks, he raises retaining walls in wood, barricades in three days of time. It is then that Commander in chief of the place of Dijon asks him to return to Is-sur-Tille by following the valley and to study appropriate means to stop the progress of the enemy if he appeared of this side. On January 17 1871, his soldiers divided into two squads make three victorious skirmishes in contact with the other "mobilized" foot soldiers. One of those, under Messigny, allows capture of cavalrymen used as scouts who loose their captain and a lieutenant.

" … The captain Imbert who had entered Savigny's village and went around it, reported to me that the horse of the captain of dragons, struck to death as his master in the engagement of which we gave details came falling and dieing on the place of Savigny's village; the animal still carried its harness which gave evidence, not to doubt it, that it had belonged to the unfortunate captain. This one died in dramatic circumstances: he fell only wounded and sat up; then, seeing a soldier who was going to strike him with his bayonet, knowing not French I suppose, he offered his flask; this movement of friendship, understood by any European, saved him indeed against the blow of bayonet but a "mobilized" who followed was less soft and finished the captain by a gunshot "

These riders belong to the 3°regiment of dragons poméraniens of Neumark; we could manage to draw out of them valuable information : indeed, a column of 9000 people passed, at this moment, there in the valley, deep and easy to defend which goes from Dienay to Is-sur-Tille. Warned immediately, the next day, Galiéni, general-in chief of the army of Vosges goes out of Dijon with his army divided into two columns, joins the volunteers, gets an explanation about present position on the spot where had taken place the fights the day before and, most surprisingly, returns to Dijon with all his troops leaving behind him a deep disappointment. With the troop and some remnants of francs tireurs from other army corps and of "mobilized", JJGarnier pushes new investigations to the north of Dijon :

"We had soon reached the woods and continued to walk forward having care of staying on the border of these forests so as to be able to watch out and scan the country without being seen. Arrived in the Bois-Royal which goes along Chaignay village, we saw a series of mounted soldiers in sentinel who guarded with the biggest care their companions positioned in the village. The motionless silhouette of these riders in their long black coat stood out distinctly on those tablelands which the snow lightened… we saw at some distance a country man; this one, brought near us, learnt me that the march of the Prussians had just ended and that the last stranglers seemed to have passed … Due to the passes in which the road turned into it would have been easy, not only to stop them, but to make to them a lot of damage. This man added that the Prussian were at present in Villecomte and Is-surTille where they seemed to concentrate more particularly on those last days.( see map) Having heard of the facts of this important information, I conferred with my officers: we came to the point to recover from weariness of our men, warn the headquarters and return, if it were not too late, with enough foods to be able to wait for a good occasion." 

 Previous page (6)      Next page (8) 
created by LusoDev                   Copyright ® 2007 - Dr. Jacques Le Sire - Tél. : +33 (0)6 89 30 06 07                     Links